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The Ocean’s Plastic Garbage – A Serious Environmental Hazard

Our world’s oceans are home to five growing plastic gyres – vortexes of swirling ocean currents filled with degrading plastic that pose a serious threat to marine life.

Captain Charles Moore, noted author and oceanographer, has spent years conducting ocean and coastal samplings documenting plastic fragments along the 40,000 miles of the North Pacific Ocean. Captain Moore was the first to discover the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, otherwise known as the Pacific Gyre, which lies in the northern Pacific near Hawaii. This is the largest of the known gyres – roughly 12,400 square miles in size and growing – and filled with swirling fragmented colorful plastic debris.

Plastic in the ocean takes roughly 600 years to degrade fully. Marine life like sharks, dolphins, whales and numerous species of fish mistake these colorful remnants of our castoff trash as food, often suffering starvation due to the trash being indigestible. Oddly, it’s only the colored plastic they go for, though the clear plastic is also hazardous. Plastic water bottles are regularly found tangled in ocean coral, littering the ocean floor.

Plastic garbage doesn’t just stay in the ocean. Storms periodically break gyres up, pushing waves of trash onto beaches around the globe. Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach is frequently known as Plastic Beach due to its continually being overrun with plastic trash brought in by the ocean’s waves.

This plastic comes in all sizes and forms – discarded toothbrushes, combs, cups and, of course, plastic water bottles. Plastic trash discarded in Asia and Europe makes its way to the ocean, gets caught in the Indian Ocean gyre, then gets pushed back again to litter the once pristine shoreline.

We use 2 million plastic beverage bottles every 5 minutes in the U.S.

“No one is (looking) at it as a global phenomena and at the root causes (to) try to make it stop,” said Cecilia Nord, Vice President – Floor Care Sustainability and Environmental Affairs of Swedish-based Electrolux.

“We need to make it stop,” she said.

“Only we humans make waste that Nature can’t digest,” says Moore.

ENSO Bottles realizes that what’s needed is a shift in thinking as well as action.  By creating their innovative biodegradable plastic bottle with the ENSO additive, these PET-based bottles break down, rather than contribute to the world’s plastic pollution. It’s part of ENSO’s commitment “to act as environmental stewards.”

With plastic trash increasing the world over, and the devastating effect this has on marine life, it’s crucial for consumers to become responsible stewards who take on recycling to a level not seen before is needed.

Individuals doing their part can make the difference.